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Sunday, January 8, 2012
Giants' O-Line rises to occasion

By Mike Mazzeo


The Giants finished dead last in the NFL in rushing offense this season, though you wouldn’t know it after watching Big Blue demolish the Falcons on the ground in Sunday’s 24-2 NFC wild-card victory at MetLife Stadium. The Giants finished the game with a season-high 172 yards on 31 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

“We stuck with it,” right guard Chris Snee said. “That’s what we’ve done all year. We couldn’t get down. We couldn’t get discouraged. I thought throughout the course of the year we were close to breaking off some big runs, and we proved me right [Sunday].”

The Giants’ much-maligned offensive line wasn’t creating any push early, but as the game wore on, the holes started to open up. In the second quarter, Brandon Jacobs ripped off a 34-yard run, and in the third, Ahmad Bradshaw got free for a 30-yard gain.

“At this time of the year, the running game has to be a strength for you,” left tackle David Diehl said. “It allows you to get in third and manageable situations, and keeps your defense off the field.”

The Giants ranked 30th in the league with 89.2 yards per game in 2011 -- the fourth-lowest average in franchise history. But they’re peaking at exactly the right time heading into their divisional-round matchup in Green Bay on Sunday.

“This is a very good football team we’re about to face,” Diehl said. “There's a different speed of game in the playoffs. If you lose, that’s it, you’re done. And I think the most important thing for this team is we don’t want this season to end.

“We’ve been fighting extremely hard to get to where we are at this point. People haven’t thought we can do this, and we’ve kind of had that us-against-the-world mentality and really band together.”